AURORA | A man accused of donning a beekeeper mask and brandishing a pistol during a bank robbery Saturday is a former high school music teacher and violin instructor, according to officials.
Christian Paetsch, 45, was arrested Saturday after police stopped 40 cars and handcuffed 20 people at a busy intersection during a search for a robber who held up a bank at East Hampden Avenue and South Chambers Road.
According to an online biography at Inspire Creative, a Parker theater and performing arts group, Paetsch taught music for several years in Aurora and Douglas County public schools.
Randy Barber, a spokesman for the Douglas County School District, said Paetsch worked as a music teacher there from 2005 until January. Barber said he couldn’t release details about why Paetsch left the district, but said he left in the middle of spring semester.
Online records say Paetsch worked last school year at Iron Horse Elementary School in Parker. Barber said he wasn’t certain what school Paetsch was at in January.
Other records show Paetsch taught at Hinkley High School in Aurora in 2002. Aurora Public Schools officials are confirming his history in the school district.
Ralph Neumann, executive director and founder of Inspire Creative, said he had known Paetsch for 15 years and was shocked by news of his arrest.
“I think right now we are all just trying to understand,” he said.
A man identified as Christian Paetsch in a photo from a private music lesson website.
Innocent motorists are handcuffed near their cars on Iliff Avenue between Buckley and Chambers roads June 2 at about 4 p.m. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates defended the mass detainment as police looked for a robbery suspect.
Paetsch is the lead instructor of the band and orchestra program at Inspire Creative. Neumann said he has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest.
Neumann said he wasn’t aware of any financial troubles Paetsch may have had. He said Paetsch, who has a wife and daughter, has always been an upstanding guy, which is why the arrest was such a shock.
“He has always been an outstanding person of integrity,” he said.
Neumann said he hoped to visit Paetsch in jail to find out more about what happened.
Police said Monday they found two pistols in Paetsch’s car along with the beekeeper mask he wore during the robbery of a Wells Fargo Bank at 15301 E. Hampden Ave.
Federal prosecutors said Monday Paetsch is facing bank robbery charges as well a charge for using a gun during a crime of violence. If convicted, he faces up to 32 years in prison.